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Smith keen to stay fresh as ban on Aussie captaincy lifts



Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Getty Images

Steve Smith

Steve Smith is eligible to captain Australia again with his two-year ban having come to an end.

Following the ball-tampering scandal of March 2018, Cricket Australia handed then-skipper Smith a 12-month suspension from domestic and international cricket, adding that he would not be considered for leadership roles for another year after that.

The 30-year-old batsman, who starred in last summer's Ashes series in England, says he has been "trying to stay physically fit and mentally fresh" amid the current sporting lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While he had been due to captain Rajasthan Royals in this year's Indian Premier League, the start of which has been postponed to April 15, Smith feels it is "not looking likely at the moment" that the competition will go ahead.

Smith (above) said: "I was supposed to be heading off I think today, from New Zealand to the IPL, so obviously that's not happening.

"I think the country's basically shut its borders until April 15. It's obviously not looking likely at the moment, I think there might be some meetings over the next couple of days to discuss what the deal is with it all.

"But I'm just trying to stay physically fit and mentally fresh and if it goes ahead at some point, then great.

"If not, there's plenty going on in the world at the moment. Play it day by day."

√ Former England captain Alastair Cook says he would rather the County Championship was not played at all this season rather than attempting to hold a dramatically condensed campaign.

"In this year, over the next six months, the bigger picture is the most important," Cook said.

"Whatever happens, if we do play any sort of cricket which hopefully we will, what I hope is that they don't try and have a six-game County Championship or something like that.

"If there is not time for a meaningful County Championship, say you can only play three or four games, there is probably not much sense us having it.

"I would rather concentrate on two full tournaments rather than saying we have four tournaments that we need to play so let's get them all in even if we have to shorten them."

Belfast Telegraph